English 189 - Spring, 2023

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: Decolonizing Shakespeare in our Schools through Digital and Theater Games

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
CRN: 62134
Time: TR 10:30-11:50am
Location: 248 Voorhies
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Decolonizing Shakespeare in our Schools through Digital and Theater Games

In this hands-on, project-based course, we will study the tragedies most frequently assigned in high school classrooms and consider how game-based methods of teaching (involving theatrical performance, creative play, as well as an actual digital game) can help decolonize Shakespeare in U.S. schools. In particular, we will think about how high school educators can use Shakespeare to address forms of gendered, racial, and political violence that their students experience and witness personally or in the media they consume. We will engage with Shakespeare?s plays using the mixed-reality theater videogame Play the Knave (https://playtheknave.org) and through lesson plans Prof. Bloom co-created with a high school teacher. How can plays written by a white man for a predominantly white audience 400 years ago help students of diverse backgrounds grapple with the violent realities of their own time and place? How can Shakespeare, an entrenched part of the core curriculum in high schools, be used to confront inequities in education and society more broadly?

This class will be of particular interest to students contemplating careers in education (especially K-12 teaching), digital media, gaming, and/or theater arts. However, students need not have experience in any of these areas prior to taking the course.


Students will choose between two learning tracks, with different term-long assignments associated with each track. Those following the ?Teaching Track? will teach a lesson to their peers, assess lesson plans and assignments, and develop their own lesson plan based on course materials. Those following the ?Research Track? will write an original research essay relating to course concepts.


Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Hamlet, Shakespeare
Othello, Shakespeare